Congratulations to Rachel Makarowski being named ACRL Member of the Week!

Rachel Makarowski is the Special Collections Librarian in Miami University at Oxford, OH. Rachel has been a member of Association of College & Research Libraries for 8 years and is your ACRL Member of the Week for April 22, 2024.

Describe yourself in three words: Approachable, enthusiastic, collaborative.

What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Describe ACRL in three words: Interdisciplinary, community, practical.

What do you value about ACRL? The Rare Book and Manuscript Section of ACRL! RBMS is such a welcoming community and I always walk away from their annual conference inspired by all the attendees and presenters. It is so easy to find ways to get involved and to find mentors; I would not be where I am today without the amazing members of RBMS and ACRL. The community there is a large part of why I am so excited to be co-chairing the RBMS 2024 Annual Conference: Momentum. Also the staff support given by ACRL is such a lifesaver! Whether you are planning RBMS Annual or looking to host an ACRL webinar, the staff are there to help you every step of the way.

What do you as an academic librarian contribute to your campus? I do a little bit of anything and everything related to special collections and rare books! From instruction and outreach to cataloging to advancement work, there is always something to do and ways to connect the Miami community to our collections. The past couple of years I have also co-taught an undergraduate class titled “The Global Book Lab” where students learn the global history of the book through special collections items and hands-on experimentation. I work closely with the librarians both in my own department and throughout the university libraries to figure out new ways of improving the student experience and how to conceptualize and assess the work we do so that we can better advocate for ourselves to university administration. I also bring an unbridled (and potentially unhinged) enthusiasm for my work; rare books are so much fun, and my goal is to connect everyone on campus with a rare book that makes them think that too!

In your own words: Two things that I have learned in my time as a librarian are: find your community and always advocate for yourselves and each other. Higher academia is changing, as is the political landscape in which we inhabit. As a librarian, it has been a relief to work with my colleagues here at Miami and across the nation through organizations like ACRL and RBMS to figure out how to address all of these changes. Working with each other and forming these communities are how we will find the answers that work for all of our different situations and institutions. It’s so much less overwhelming when you can rely on each other! Also, advocate and know your individual and collective worth. Whether it is by speaking up in meetings, getting involved in professional organizations, or even by organizing/volunteering in a labor union on your campus, be brave and authentic in speaking up and standing for what you believe in. We will always be stronger standing in solidarity!

As Ever… A Student’s Tribute (Tiffany Dogan, Author)

Headshot of Kenneth M. Grubb in a long tie and blazer
Photo of Kenneth M. Grubb. Photo courtesy of Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives.

Throughout the years, we have posted about a number of collections or notable alum. On this very special day, the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives would like to pay tribute to a very special Miami University alum, Kenneth Grubb. While many come through our doors to access our resources, the story of how we were named has not been told enough.

Kenneth MacLeod Grubb was born on February 13, 1907, in Chicago, Illinois. During his academic career at Miami University, he would begin to live that message as he quickly got involved. He was initiated into Sigma Chi in 1928 and even played freshman football as a tackle and ran freshman track. He became Class President his sophomore year and was active in Student Senate. He was also a member of the Men’s Chorus and German Club. He left Miami during his junior year to study at the University of Chicago but returned for his senior year. He graduated in the Spring of 1931. During his senior year, he was awarded a fellowship to study in Germany. This fellowship was sponsored by the American Student Exchange and would give him the opportunity to study German literature at the University of Tubingen. His first-semester experience was documented in the March 21, 1933 issue of the Miami Student. Afterward, he served as a part-time professor of German at Miami University for the 1933-1934 academic year as he completed his M.A. in German. From 1934 to 1937, he was an instructor in German at the University of Chicago. He married then Elenore Scheel on February 13, 1937.

WWII affected many lives and Grubb’s was no exception. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1942 as a 1st Lieutenant. He was discharged in 1946 as a Major. We have a collection of letters and telegrams he sent and received during his time of enlistment, along with diaries and scrapbooks. Upon returning home, he returned to work at Prentice-Hall as the Manager of the Foreign Division. In 1950, he was elected Vice-President of Prentice-Hall and was in charge of the Educational Division. In 1953, he was elected as President and Director of Allyn and Bacon, Inc.  At the 1964 Spring Commencement, he was presented with the Honorary degree of Doctor of Letters. He retired from Allyn and Bacon, Inc. in 1972.

During Grubb’s freshman year, the yearbook published this message for its students:

“Today to every student comes the privilege of associating with those who, going before, have explored the paths of truth. To every professor comes the opportunity of participating in the onward surge of youth, of discovering its potentialities, and of inspiring it to higher endeavor. Tomorrow these associations will become a vital part in the life of each student. Through their influence he will think clearly, speak wisely, live well. For him life will hold the ideal as well as the practical. Upon a foundation thus obtained he will build the towers of life’s achievements.”

Miami University Recensio, 1928

Unbeknownst to Grubb and Havighurst, they would truly find that professor-student friendship during Grubb’s senior year. Walter Havighurst was Grubb’s English professor. There was a connection that they had which can be seen in the letters written between them from 1968-1979. It was very apparent in the frequency, length, and contents of the letters that they encouraged each other and they were adding value to each other’s lives. These letters depicted the admiration Grubb had for Havighurst, which led to Grubb wanting to pay tribute to Havighurst by donating $50,000 in 1972 to supply furniture to the Rare Books Room and naming the Special Collections Library after Havighurst. In a letter dated December 1, 1972, Grubb wrote to Havighurst:

Excerpt from a handwritten letter written in blue ink.
Excerpt from a letter written by Kenneth M. Grubb to Walter Havighurst. Courtesy of Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives.

“…And let me please say thank you for giving us the opportunity to make this possible. The University has grown in many ways because of you and no one is more deserving of honor than you Walter, and happy that many generations of students to come as well as those in the past, will know of your humanity, great kindness, and genuine scholarship. The “Walter Havighurst Special Collections Library” is a fitting testimonial to all the good things you are.

Our Best to you & Miami and will be with you!

As ever-


Written by Kenneth M. Grubb to Walter Havighurst, December 1, 1972
An older woman and man cut a ribbon in a doorframe.
Marion Boyd Havighurst and Walter Havighurst cut the ribbon to open the Walter Havighurst Special Collections Library. Courtesy of
Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives.

On December 16, 1972, the Walter Havighurst Special Collections Library opened its doors under its new name for the first time.

On May 31, 1979, Grubb passed away in his home. Several months after Grubb’s death, Havighurst wrote to Elenore Grubb about his friendship with Grubb over the years.

Tyoewritten letter by Walter Havighurst to Elenore Grubb on yellow checkered paper.

Letter by Walter Havighurst to Elenore Grubb. Courtesy of Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives.

“It was 50 years ago this fall that Ken came into my classroom. He sat in the front row, beside a window — a good place to stretch his legs and case the campus. Immediately I knew here was a big, hearty, casually friendly student whose presence I would enjoy. He didn’t have a studious look or manner (not much note-taking) but I soon found he had a lively, curious, absorbing mind, and that he quickly got the point I was reaching for. I tried not to put an A on any students’ first paper, but Ken’s was the best I had. He made A with me from the start.

Soon we were friends, exchanging all kinds of ideas — in my office, on the campus, in my rooms at Fisher Hall, and the Sig house. Although I knew when he went abroad I would keep track of him I didn’t yet realize that he would be a life-long friend. There were later meetings, in New York, in Boston, and here in Oxford, and each time I saw how he was growing in mind and heart and character. He was generously interesting in all my undertakings, and I took pride in his career. He made me feel I had some part in his accomplishment, and I think he knew how much he meant to me.

Whenever and wherever with him I have felt a fullness of life. That won’t change now. I’ve told him of my lasting friendship, that’s what it is — lasting…”

Excerpt of letter written by Walter Havighurst to Elenore Grubb, September, 2, 1979.

Our space is not only the home to many rare and unique items, but it is a tangible result of a friendship between a student and their former professor. The kindness and appreciation that was shown between Grubb and Havighurst demonstrate the stuff of what true friendships are made. To see the items cited in this post, please visit our reading room or contact our staff members.

A Preservation Mindset

In recognition of Preservation Week (April 30-May 6), new Preservation and Conservation Librarian Eric Harrelson explains what preservation, archives and special collections mean to him.

Charles Merewether said in his introduction to the 2006 collection of writings about the role and significance of archives in contemporary art titled The Archive, that archives are “the foundation from which history is written.”  This quote stuck with me. It may be a little self important, but the sentiment is true, at least in my opinion. Without archives and special collections, history begins to fade, the edges become soft, and the facts start to disappear, replaced by vague notions, outdated opinions, or deliberate falsehoods.  In the simplest terms, the archive is where primary sources are held. These primary sources may be documents full of serious, quantitative information, such as letters, decrees, or policy statements from rulers and important figures in a given society. But, it can also contain artifacts of a more mundane nature.  Everyday objects that were part of a regular person’s daily routine that shed light on what their lives were actually like.

It is not unusual for many of us to think of history as a series of dry facts: wars, dates, length of empires, etc. Significant cultural events that encompassed decades, even centuries reduced to a few ticks on a timeline, quickly mentioned in a semester-long sprint to the exam finish line then filed away in our brains, unused, and eventually forgotten.   In the archive, however, history is preserved in all of its rich and multifaceted glory.  Timelines and wars are all well and good, but history is more than just queens, generals, trade routes and military campaigns. 

Illustration of a Corn Grater, from The Housewife’s Library, a cookbook and all around instructional manual for housekeeping from 1885

History is about life and living, how our predecessors worked, fought, learned, wrote, made art, loved, and died across the centuries.  While we can never meet those people or experience what they experienced first hand, we can interact with what they left behind. Recipes for their food, explanations of how they made their clothing, tools they used, what their housing looked like, how they spent their summers, their winters, their holidays. These everyday remnants let us see just how clever, resourceful, creative, and intelligent our ancestors really were. It can be tempting to fall into the mindset that we are somehow more evolved than our ancestors, to think that we are fundamentally different from them. Smarter, more capable, more enlightened. But, that simply isn’t the case. Biologically, we are virtually identical to the people that hunted in nomadic familial communities, first domesticated animals, and built the Roman Aqueducts.  It is easy to forget that fact when we look at all the incredible advances we have made and seemingly impossible technologies we have created over the years. I believe that it is important to maintain a connection to those who have come before us, and archives and special collections help us accomplish this.

Child’s Abacus, hand carved. Date unknown, likely late 19th, early 20th century.

I was drawn to this profession because of that connection to history, and because of the love I have for old and broken things.  I enjoy taking an everyday object that has been used and abused over the years, one that most folks would likely send to the landfill and giving it some love and attention.  Whether that object be a piece of furniture, an old machine, or an article of clothing, bringing that object back from the dead gives me not only satisfaction, but allows me to feel a connection to whomever owned it before I did. I believe that preserving and experiencing everyday objects from the past connects us in a more profound way to our history and our ancestors than simply looking at a picture, or reading about figures and dates in a classroom history book.

In order to maintain this connection, we need to maintain access to primary sources, whatever form they may take. As a Preservation Librarian, it is my duty to ensure that these objects and the information they contain remains usable and accessible.  How that looks is different for every object.  Some are high circulation books or other written materials, and those need to be repaired when they incur damage, reinforced when they show wear, or upgraded to prevent damage that is likely to occur from heavy circulation.  Some objects may be unique, very old, fragile, and irreplaceable.  These items need to be treated with a delicate touch, and are not intended for heavy use.  The goal is to ensure no further damage occurs, and the integrity of the item is preserved for as long as possible.  There are some objects that are, unfortunately, damaged beyond reasonable repair, but that also contain useful information that is peculiar and warrants preservation.  In these cases, the object is often digitized, and the resulting images can preserve the information contained within the object as well as give a visual record of the object.  This way while a researcher may not be able to access the object itself, they can have the next best thing.

Ultimately, archives are here to provide access to primary sources, information that is not readily available elsewhere.  The role of the Preservation Librarian is to ensure that the information remains accessible.  In archives and special collections, we are the stewards of the past, and as Merewether says, we provide “the foundation from which history is written.”

For more information on Preservation Week presented by Core and the ALA, visit And for more information about what the Walter Havighurst Archive and Special Collections has to offer, visit or stop by King Library, on the 3rd floor, room 321.

The Lytle Family Papers Collection

Virginius Cornick Hall devoted his life to historical research, collecting unique and unusual items and documenting his family chronology. In the last few years of Virginius’ life, we have had the pleasure of getting to know Virginius through a mutual friend Allen Bernard.  As we spent time with Virginius, we came to the understanding that the papers and documents that he had collected throughout his life, such as correspondences with his mother, research on the history of Cincinnati, and numerous other unique documents, would be an outstanding addition to our Special Collections department and a great place to advance the scholarship that Virginius had worked on throughout his retirement.

The forthcoming collection is to be titled the Lytle Family Papers and is currently an unprocessed collection of approximately 49lf. The collection consists of the life’s work of several Lytle family members over nearly three centuries, leading to Virginius Cornick Hall, the latest in the line of Lytle family historians. Hall, his mother, and his grandfather all meticulously trace their ancestry back to Captain William Lytle and General William Haines Lytle. Captain William Lytle was an early surveyor, a prominent Cincinnatian, and the namesake of Cincinnati’s Lytle Park. General William Haines Lytle was a politician in Ohio, a renowned poet, and a military officer in the United States Army during both the Mexican–American War and American Civil War, where he was killed in action as a brigadier general. The Lytle Family Papers document the lives and literary works of members of Lytle’s descendants in the McGuire, Lytle, Livingood, Foster, Hall, Jackson, and Ragdale families while also offering intensive histories of the many places which Hall called home, including Cincinnati, Murray Bay in Quebec, and Richmond, Virginia.

In the oral history below, Hall shares in his own words some of his stories and experiences from his life, giving context and color to many of the documents included in the collection. Hall shares insights from his time at the Groton School in Massachusetts, Princeton University, and the University of Michigan, all of which shaped his interests in history, collection-keeping, and librarianship. He also explains several of the projects which dominated both his life and, subsequently, the Lytle Family Papers: the “Cincinnati Views” project comprised Hall’s attempt to document the changing urban landscape of Cincinnati through art (especially prints), while the “Fruits and Nuts” project consisted of Hall writing mini-biographies of people that he found to be particularly eccentric. Thus, while the Lytle Family Papers strongly focus on the history of the Lytle family, they also provide a one-of-a-kind perspective on the manners and customs of the nineteenth through the twenty-first centuries. We look forward to processing this collection and making these unique holdings available to researchers for various potential outcomes.

Written by Callie Martindale & Amber Bales

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Happy Birthday, Walter!

Photo of Walter Havighurst sitting at desk.
Photo of Walter Havighurst at his desk.
Photo of Walter Havighurst. Courtesy of Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives.

The Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives has been the home for primary sources for 50 years. Our materials have helped our researchers answer their questions or have taken their research on a path that led to more than what they imagined. While many recognize us for our exhibitions, classes, and research materials, the question is asked quite regularly: “Who was Walter Havighurst?” In celebration of our serving for 50 years as a tribute to him, we would like to highlight Walter Havighurst on what would have been his 121st birthday.

Walter Edwin Havighurst was born on November 28, 1901, in Appleton, Wisconsin. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver and his bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology in 1924 and 1926, respectively. He also studied at Kings College at the University of London during the Winter of 1926 and Spring of 1927. In 1927, his brother Robert Havighurst, who was a chemistry professor at Miami University at the time, encouraged Walter to come to Miami for a visit. He became attracted to Miami University’s campus as it reminded him of his home in Wisconsin. Upon completing his Master’s degree from Columbia University in 1928, he applied for a position at Miami University and was appointed as Head Resident of the former Fisher Hall dormitory and an English professor teaching creative writing and American literature. It was during this first year of teaching that he met his wife, then Marion Boyd, when they were assigned to the same departmental office. They were married on December 29, 1930.

After a forty-one-year career at Miami, Havighurst retired from teaching at Miami University in 1969. During this time, he accomplished the following:

  • Won 4 awards (one of which he was awarded 3 times)
  • Received honorary membership to Phi Beta Kappa
  • Received 4 honorary doctorate degrees
  • Wrote 29 books (3 of which were with his wife, Marion Boyd Havighurst), 22 articles, 45 short stories, and over 300 book reviews
  • Complied works for 7 anthologies
  • Contributed chapters to 5 works

After retiring, Havighurst completed 5 additional works. While this is only a portion of his accomplishments, he touched the hearts of many students during his tenure. (One of which will be featured next month!) Quite a few former students of his would attend a number of our lectures about his life and his areas of interest and would speak about their experiences with him. He was known as Mr. Miami. He knew many details about Miami University and its history. In 1958, Havighurst published The Miami Years: 1809-1959, a book to celebrate Miami University’s sesquicentennial and recount its history until that time. Labeled as a retirement year project, Havighurst updated the book and changed the title to The Miami Years: 1809-1969 to provide 4 additional chapters to highlight the events and changes on and around campus from 1960-69.

Havighurst passed away on February 3, 1994. His memory is still cherished by those he touched. Dr. Phillip Shriver said it best in his tribute to Havighurst:

“As we remember this remarkable man who lived for so long among us and who set our souls humming with the music of his words, it seems only right that he be included with the Bishops, the Scotts, the McGuffesys, and those other great men and women of Miami history whose names will always be at home on the wide spreading campus. Yes, spring will soon be on hand, the earth will warm anew, and the rebud will bloom again among the white sycamore trucks along the Talawanda. And when they do, Walter, we will think of you.”

Excerpt from “A Tribute to Walter Havighurst” by Philip R. Shriver, 1994

Post by: Tiffany Dogan

Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

As one year ends and another begins, November has been reserved as the time when we reflect on what we are thankful for. Here at the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives are beyond thankful. We are grateful for the partnership that Miami University and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, or Myaamia in the Tribe’s heritage language, have and the knowledge that has been given through it. For the past 50 years, the Miami University community has been privileged with having panels, speeches, and exhibitions featuring not only Myaamia culture and history but Tribal citizens themselves.

Advertisement for the exhibition titled "Sine Time Immemorial... The Place of the Miamis"

Our current exhibition, titled “Since Time Immemorial… The Place of the Miamis”, features this partnership and the history of the Myaamia people. The content of this exhibition is divided into seven parts covering historical events from the late 1600s to the present. The items curated for this exhibition are a few items from collections housed at the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives. On October 21st, the Miami University community was invited to meet with staff from the Myaamia Center to talk about a number of the materials on display and their importance in the history of the Myaamia people. On November 9th at 1:30 pm in Room 320 at King Library, members of the Miami Tribe will share the Coming Out Story, the oldest story the Myaamia people have for themselves. An exhibition tour and light refreshments will follow the storytelling program.

November 14th will mark 20 years since we began housing the Myaamia Collection. The Collection was established as a repository that represents the cultural and historical perspective of the Miami Nation. This would include but is not limited to various historical documents, family correspondence, and photographs. One of our most viewed materials from the Myaamia Collection is the Luke Scheer Papers. Although Scheer was not a citizen of the Miami Nation, he was interested in the Myaamia people as he grew up in Huntington County, Indiana. This county has a historical and contemporary Myaamia presence. This allowed him to attend several Myaamia-centric events during his childhood. As an adult, he became interested in Myaamia history and genealogy. Many of the papers included in this collection are correspondence between Luke Scheer and some Tribal citizens regarding their Myaamia ancestry.

While Miami University celebrates the Myaamia people and their culture and history, we have collections that contain general information on many other Native American tribes and their heritage. Our first collection donated to us with this focus was the Ferdinand Bach Collection of Native American Materials. As described by Ferdinand Bach III, the donor of this collection, “a major focus of this collection is on the Old Northwest Territory and the Woodland cultures of the Native Americans of that region.” 

Fine arts can be expressions of culture. The Native American Women Playwright Archive is just that. This archive is a collection of original materials by Native women playwrights of the Americas. It includes manuscripts and plays as well as production materials such as programs, posters, flyers, photographs, correspondence, articles, and audio-visual materials. The collection features the works of various Native American women playwrights, including Diane Glancy, Judy Lee Oliva, Hortensia and Elvira Colorado, Victoria Kneubuhl, and many others. Many of the plays found in the archive are unpublished and available only in manuscript form. This is quite the opportunity for our researchers to view one-of-a-kind materials that allow them to see Native American cultures and histories artistically compared to the many books we have containing research or personal accounts of Native Americans and their respective cultures. We are honored to be the repository for Spiderwoman Theater, the country’s longest-running women’s performance group.

50 years of partnership is such an important milestone. It demonstrates the dedication and commitment that both the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and Miami University have to a common goal of neepwaantiinki, “learning from each other”. The Walter Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives will continue to be a space of learning and research about all cultures for all cultures. To view any of the above-mentioned collections or our other collections, feel free to visit us Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Appointments are very much appreciated but are not required.